What are you to do when everything you do seems to be not quite enough?
Among countless others, that seemed the one question that most vexed Tiger Woods during his 15-minute, soul-searching speech at the Sawgrass Players Club this morning. He took no questions in the aftermath of his expressions. But then, did he really have to?
The anguished look on the face of the most recognizable athlete on the planet said it all as he soldiered away to parts unknown. He was desperately hoping to put together the rest of what could easily become a totally tattered existence. Tiger labored long and hard with his words, thoughts and convictions, but he came across loud and clear.
“Now, every one of you has good reason to be critical of me,” Woods said of the sex-laden scandal that consumed his life and landed him into an in-patient, sex rehabilitation clinic. “I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame.”
He later spoke of his plan to return to golf one day. “When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game.”
And with that, the legend of Tiger Woods, the Tigers Woods we all grew to cheer and love, seemed to grow a bit. With those words, Tiger Woods seemed to be taking responsibility for both his earthly being and his out-of-this world ordainment as a celebrity.
All at once, he seemed to internalize that he needed to make amends to both. And as harsh and aberrant as that may sound, if any of us are to be truly honest with ourselves it’s a place we’ve all known before. But the mind and the psyche are curious beings, spirits that can easily see and detect the flaws of others without sensing the flaws of ourselves.
For better or worse, Tiger Woods seemed to want you to know that he’s not much different from you or me. Aside from the reported dozen or so mistresses, he wants you to know that he came to buy into a sense of entitlement none of us should ever feel.
“I have made you question who I am and how I could have done the things I did,” he said. “I am embarrassed that I have put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry. I have a lot to atone for.” Later he continued: “I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled.”
Tiger Woods I wish you the peace and love you seemed to ask for. Not because you are so entitled, but because it’s the same grace we all seek and need.